Who wants to try tuna?

SilverFly

Active Member
I wasn't going to post this here on the main board because bluefin on the fly are such a remote possibility (beyond my getting spooled back in 2015) but now I'm starting to wonder otherwise...

Anyhoo, I was reading reports the other night on the SoCal forum looking for info on jigs (as analogs to flies) targeting selectively keyed fish, when lo-and-behold, I stumbled on a bluefin fly report! This was in response to a frustrated jig chucker who couldn't connect with tuna busting right next to the boat... because his lures were too big (didn't match the hatch) and they were keyed on small anchovies (aka "micro-bait").

Great report. Micro bait feeders are tough. Some times the only thing that works the smallest sniper type lures.
So score one for the fly guys! I PM'ed the guy for permission to post the pic, and he shared a couple more. Somebody needs to pull this off up here!
A fly rod is the only way to throw something small enough. Give it a try.
If things continue the way they're going, this could become a PNW thing:

1579254_11e681faaa23b74018d5cd091c598c63.jpg1579253_e5d78523d74ac19f23b3daed4df761fe.jpg1567576_1889b4c81d8d00f43dcccc7f6097364e.jpg
 
Last edited:

DenWor54

Active Member
Thanks silverfly for posting the report on bluefin tuna, looks like they were under gunned and broke a rod. Another fish on my bucket list is bluefin, fish of that size I would target with a 14 weight. Also if there any opportunities toward the end of the month i’m game. Work and other family stuff has taken priority, will do my best to get out this year. Tight lines
 

SilverFly

Active Member
Thanks silverfly for posting the report on bluefin tuna, looks like they were under gunned and broke a rod. Another fish on my bucket list is bluefin, fish of that size I would target with a 14 weight. Also if there any opportunities toward the end of the month i’m game. Work and other family stuff has taken priority, will do my best to get out this year. Tight lines
Hey Dennis, So sorry our trip didn't work out. Currently the only trips I have confirmed on the books are Sat the 21st with an old work buddy and his sons, and a WFF crew on Sunday Oct 6th.

I will definitely keep you in mind as a backup in case myself or one of the other guys can't make it (stuff does happen). As I posted, were going to try for next week but, again, the long range is sketchy. Hoping we can pin down a day next week or the week after. Might already have 4 guys this time with a WFF member waiting for clearance from domestic management (no but maybe next year!)

It's also possible we could get an extended good weather window in October and run some trips into mid-month. Iffy at best but it does happen. This is a weird year so who knows. Another possibility is a lead I have on a charter that might be open to fly trips. Maybe this year but likely something to look forward to next.
 
Last edited:

SilverFly

Active Member
Well, myself and 2 other WFF'ers aren't 30 miles offshore right now, so looks like I have a gear-prep, fly tying, and try-to-change-minds day. ONE volunteer, and you guys (& gals :) ) wouldn't have to read my whiney posts today - just say'n.

Instead a boat that wanted to take a fly crew has a bunch of gear guys (I are one too) going on a plug-the-boat meat hunt. Not necessarily a bad thing, just somewhat ironic given the general attitudes among fly fishers about meat fishing. I guess file that one under "things that make you hmm" .


But I digress, per the change minds part. I spend so much time on the salt board, I assume much of the possibilities in our saltwaters is common knowledge. So maybe more "horizon widening" is in order.

All this talk of unlikely-but-possible exotics such as marlin, dorado, yellowtail, and (really not-so-exotic) bluefin, I left out the one with the next highest "probability" to catch on the fly (after BFT). At least a fly sunk deep when on a school of albacore. A handful of these are caught every year by the albacore fleet, but none so far this year that I'm aware. However, there have been a number of reports of large fish hooked and lost, that fit the MO for this mysterious and amazing fish. One even by a WFF'er who went on one of those oh-so-easy-to-board-without-a-fairy-wand gear charters.

For those who may not be aware of this species, it is possibly the coolest, most incredible fish on the planet. A fish so weird, yet beautiful it's difficult to believe they are real.

I'm talking about Opah (not Oprah :rolleyes: ). AKA "Hawaiian Moonfish". Besides growing to enormous sizes (600#), they fight hard, are extremely fast, fabulous eating, and (currently) a sustainable resource.

Check this shit out. Here's the only true warm-blooded fish on the planet, and they are off our coast every summer!

20190826_230727.jpg

Again, not saying it's something anyone expects to catch. Only a lucky few that fish gear ever catch one, but it is possible. And because these fish like to hang below schools of albacore, this is another species for which the odds would go up dramatically using a deep sinking line. Just like I was doing when I got spooled in '15.

Look at that fish and tell me the open ocean is anything but absolutely fucking AWESOME! Just knowing shtuff like that is out there changes the entire experience!
 
Last edited:

SilverFly

Active Member
Thanks silverfly for posting the report on bluefin tuna, looks like they were under gunned and broke a rod. Another fish on my bucket list is bluefin, fish of that size I would target with a 14 weight. Also if there any opportunities toward the end of the month i’m game. Work and other family stuff has taken priority, will do my best to get out this year. Tight lines
Dennis, Just another thought on scratching bluefin off our list. IF the bluefin catches and sightings continue, and fit the normal trend to increase as the season progresses. AND we get a good weather window into mid-October. Then I would be down for a screw-albacore-swing-for-the-fences exploratory trip on the green-water edge focused on bluefin.

What I have in mind is a mixed gear approach. Meanwhile has the heavy troll gear covered, I have also have a heavy halibut rig that would work for drifting a bait on the thermocline, like a big squid or maybe a live mack if we could jig some up.

And of course the right fly gear. I think my 14 with the Tibor could handle a tuna to maybe 100#. I'm not gonna get spooled with 1200yds of backing but even a 14wt has limits in terms of lifting power. I'm also not above trolling said fly gear even though it wouldnt "count" and I generally hate trolling, but I would be stoked to just hook a decent BFT that way.

Ideally though, we would encounter the busting bluefin that have been repeatedly seen this year. Even when casting to surface action, I still think fast sinking lines will make a difference. At least if bluefin are anything like albacore, the deeper the fly is, the less picky they seem to be.

Crazy talk, I know, but this would be the year to do it. With the sightings, spoolings, and landings, this year, you would think there would be some serious effort to explore this as a new, incredible-that-we-have-it fishery.

But it's not that simple. The charters running albacore trips, are focused on albacore. Their clients are plopping down some serious coin and don't want to gamble on a long shot. In fact, I messaged the captain that posted the busting bluefin/whale report, to share the info about bluefin feeding in association with Bryde's whales. I thought he should know to try to ID the whale species as an indicator of BFT being around. He responded that he knows the bluefin are out there (and it's killing him) but he simply can't dedicate any time to targeting them being fully booked for albies.

It's somewhat the same for private boats in that it's expensive to get out there, and smaller boats have more limited weather windows to make it happen. Again, it's a tough call to gamble on a long shot. Also, the majority of private boats simply don't have the gear to handle large tuna. Sure some are intentionally running marlin/big tuna troll gear now, but they're out in the clear/blue albacore water. Not the cool green water edge much nearer shore where the bulk of the large tuna sightings have occurred. So in spite of obvious opportunity this year, bluefin aren't really being targeted directly.

Maybe not surprising then, that it's been a while since the last time someone intentionally pulled this off. That was October of 2003 when a couple guys did it in an open 20' boat out of Ilwaco. Keep in mind this was over a decade before the massive resurgence of bluefin fishing in SoCal. And yet, these crazy guys landed a 103# bluefin and had some heavy gear destroyed by presumably much larger fish.

I guess my point is we might have an incredible "new" fishery, even more incredible than albacore (hard to fathom) and it's right under our noses. Just waiting for somebody to break the mold. And here's where having access to a smaller-boat, fly-friendly charter could be a big advantage. How cool would it be to make a dedicated bluefin run, catch one and do it on fly gear? THAT would get some attention and change minds about fly rods being "fairy wands".
 
Last edited:

GAT

Dumbfounded
I always wanted to give flyfishing for tuna a try. Obviously you can catch them with that technique.

But I'm not a big fan of traveling 30-50 miles by boat to reach the fish... When we were fishing for dorado in Baja they really weren't that far from shore.

Still... maybe someday... when I grow younger....
 

SilverFly

Active Member
I always wanted to give flyfishing for tuna a try. Obviously you can catch them with that technique.

But I'm not a big fan of traveling 30-50 miles by boat to reach the fish... When we were fishing for dorado in Baja they really weren't that far from shore.

Still... maybe someday... when I grow younger....
There are a couple spots in Baja where dorado have been caught off the beach, even on fly gear.

Here in the PNW, tuna have been as close as 20 this year. Some of the big bluefin sightings even closer, but targeting them hasn't become a "thing" ... yet. Also 30+ miles isn't a bad run on a decent ocean in a fast boat. A charter I used to fish with topped out around 12 knots, and usually did about 8. 2-3 hours out, 2-3 hours back. No thanks!
 
Last edited:

Skip Enge

Uck Uck Uck, bitches
I once sold a pair of leaky waders to a tuna fly fisherman on Westfly...for $50...they warranted tossing...The bloody carnage and all...I was happy to. I'd probably get super sea sick...I have a 9 weight, used to have a Loomis 11...but I was too much of a soft bodied wimp to chuck that broomstick often...
 

SilverFly

Active Member
The weather is quickly shifting to a Fall pattern. Be safe out there folks! Respect the mighty Pacific.
I haven't looked at any recent climate or long range models but was under the impression much of the recent rains are a direct result of the warmer water offshore (more evaporation = more precipitation)? At least that's what I'd like to tell myself :rolleyes:.

And yes, you are absolutely correct that the Pacific isn't to be trifled with.
 
Last edited:

SilverFly

Active Member
I once sold a pair of leaky waders to a tuna fly fisherman on Westfly...for $50...they warranted tossing...The bloody carnage and all...I was happy to. I'd probably get super sea sick...I have a 9 weight, used to have a Loomis 11...but I was too much of a soft bodied wimp to chuck that broomstick often...
Wonder if that was somebody I fished with. I lost a couple of contacts from WF that would be good to have about now.

If you did make it out there, I can assure you that 11wt wouldn't feel like a broomstick once you hooked up. Best analogy I can come up with is a 12# March run 'Shoog springer (steelhead) on a 6wt. Would be cool to fish with you sometime Skip. Maybe ho-ho's in the local crick in a month or so?
 
Last edited:

Latest posts

Top